Lots of new developments in TV accumulated, so I hope you don't mind if I blog them... First: We have a new TV station. They call themselves Das Vierte (The Fourth Channel). For those of you not living in Germany: We have traditionally had three public TV channels: ARD - Das Erste (1st channel), ZDF - Das Zweite (the second), and then we had Das Dritte (the third), which had a variant for each state, e.g. Südwest 3 (Southwest 3).
So, essentially this new private station is trying to get the fourth spot between the three big public TV stations. A thing to note may be that, in Germany, public TV is pretty decent. It has the duty to further political education and culture, and thus isn't as free to show what the mass audience wants as a private station, but considering that, it's doing fairly well. I have to admit that the really good stuff is usually on the German/French co-op channel "arte", but still.
Anyway, this station is now showing all the big 80ies TV shows like Magnum, Knight Rider, Quincy and Ironside, and they also show lots of old TV movies. It's really nice to see all that stuff again.
Also, another station recently showed the first Harry Potter movie on TV. What drivel. I don't know whether the books are better than this, or whether it's a good and faithful adaptation, but I don't feel encouraged to find out. Everyone told me Potter was so great because it was a childrens' book that's also fun for adults, but to me it looks just like a child's fantasy plus a few special effects. Okay, the characters are likable, which means I actually sat through the movie, but why is everyone making such a fuss about this?
If you want a good kid-magician book, get Ottfried Preußler's Krabat. There's only one part, but it has an incredibly dense atmosphere, and I've read it to a whole bunch of kids at a youth camp who initially didn't want anyone to read a book to them, and in the end implored me to finish reading the story on the bus back. The English title The Satanic Mill is a little ill-chosen, so don't let that scare you.
On a better (though less family-friendly) note, another movie I saw that same evening on TV was Red Dragon, the new movie adaptation of Thomas Harris' book of the same name, and the first part of the story most of you probably know as The Silence of the Lambs. It's almost as good as the book. If you haven't seen it, go watch it now. I guess I'll have to work up the nerve to watch Hannibal after all... but maybe I'll buy the book first.
Final TV-related thoughts: Scifi shows. I saw the Pilot to Ron Moore's new Galactica and one episode, and I'm impressed. The gratuitous sex in the Pilot had me a little worried, but that doesn't seem to be as bad in subsequent episodes, so the show works well. I also like the pseudo-realism of the show, the tech, the grittiness. The only thing that keeps it from being my favorite show is that it's a little low on humor. But I can understand how that dosn't really fit the theme.
In that regard, the best of the currently-running series seems to be Stargate (and SG: Atlantis). Those guys have no self-respect, and I mean that in a good way. Only O'Neill got a little too undisciplined in recent seasons, doing too many irreverent things that would have caused international incidents in real life. But since he seems to be out in favor of Ben Browder (Farscape! Woo!), I guess I won't have to worry about that in Season ... 9?
They're also finally showing Dead Zone in Germany, which looks like a really interesting show, even though it's based on a Stephen King idea .. *shudder*. Now I only have to wait for Firefly, The 4400 and the Galactica series to show up, and I'll have a lot of fun shows to watch. And I'm also curious about some of the new Scifi the US got ... is Threshold any good?